Victoria Farley knows firsthand the stress that sometimes comes with balancing school and life as a college student. That’s why she created St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Mental Health Club, where once a week students can meet and destress through activities like yoga, coloring, and s’mores making.
“Our main goal is to break the stigma around mental health and to educate the STAC community on the resources we have on our campus,” Victoria says. “The club started a conversation about mental health and made it a subject that is no longer scary to talk about.”
In coordination with The Spirit of STAC Action Team, Victoria also planned the first-ever wellness day, called “Spartans Take A Beat.” The event drew 275 students and over 50 faculty members who came together to “take a beat” from their everyday routines. In addition to learning about various mental health resources, students spent calming time with therapy dogs and relaxing in massage chairs.
Victoria’s efforts have received exceptionally positive feedback from both students and administrators. In fact, she was asked to speak at the 2023 Hall of Fame Dinner in order to shed light on mental health and wellness. Faculty and STAC administrators, including President Kenneth Daly and Vice President and Dean of Student Development Kevin Nesbitt, have also stopped by the club for visits.
“The support from the administrators truly means the world to me, and shows that they care about students and their well-being,” Victoria says.
Victoria works with her peers in other ways, too. As an intern for STAC’s Office of Admissions, she spends time with incoming students to facilitate the transition into college. She and her supervisor Lorraine Derwin also run the high school program, where local high school students can earn college credit for courses they take through STAC. Victoria communicates with principals and guidance counselors to coordinate student registration and maintains the program’s social media accounts to increase engagement and reach more students in the area.
A transfer student, Victoria started off as a tour guide with the Office of Admissions and since then, she’s become even more involved in the campus community. At Open Houses, she is a STAC Ambassador, giving informative tours to prospective students, and she is also entrusted to lead special guest visits. After graduation, she hopes to continue working with STAC and says the guidance she’s received from Lorraine has not only helped her develop professional skills but given her new insight into business and marketing.
“Lorraine has taught me the most amazing tools for recruiting and marketing to make me successful. She is someone that everyone on this campus looks up to,” Victoria says about her mentor.
When she first enrolled at STAC, Victoria had hopes of becoming an educator and even was a substitute teacher at Norwood Public School in New Jersey. Working with students in this capacity prepared her to aid in their next steps as they enter higher education.
In addition to the support she’s received from the Office of Admissions, she says it is her parents’ encouragement that has pushed her to where she is today.
In her free time, Victoria enjoys hiking with her mom and every summer, she and her extended family get together for a vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Recently, she traveled out of the country for the first time, exploring Spain and the Netherlands, and Victoria says that Greece is next on her list.